Nearly 3 in 4 have encountered at least one cyber threat via electronic payments


By Bronte H. Lacsamana, Journalist

NEARLY THREE in four people in Southeast Asia (SEA) have encountered at least one type of threat associated with digital payment technology, according to a recent study by internet security firm Kaspersky.

Titled “Mapping a Secure Pathway for the Future of Digital Payments in APAC,” the 2021 study found that 72% of SEA respondents had experienced cyber threats, while nearly all (97%) were aware of at least one. least one type of threat related to e-payment platforms.

Of those with experience, 37% have encountered them in the form of social engineering scams via text messages or calls, making them the top threat in the region. Other common types of scams are fake websites (27%), fake deals and offers (27%) and phishing (25%).

A total of 1,618 working professionals from 10 Asia-Pacific countries were included as study participants. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 65 and are all digital payment users.

The Philippines, which ranked fourth in Kaspersky’s 2021 global ranking of countries most targeted by web threats, also rated social engineering scams via text messages or calls as the top risk, 42% of respondents having met them.

Sandra Lee, managing director of Kaspersky in Asia-Pacific, said the adoption of digital payment methods appears to be a double-edged sword, with convenience representing the benefits and cybersecurity risks showing their less desirable aspects.

“On the contrary, we believe it is premature to categorize digital payments in such a binary way. As with all emerging technologies, there are no good or bad characteristics inherent in them; on the contrary, the how we use them to achieve beneficial results is determined by how we interact with them,” she said in a statement.

The study also found that the financial loss from a cyber incident involving digital payments ranges from less than $100 to $5,000, with a small number of respondents reporting a loss of more than $5,000.

More than half (52%) said they had lost money due to bank account and credit card fraud. Causes of financial loss in Southeast Asia included accounts hacked in a data breach (47%), fake and fraudulent apps (45%), ransomware (45%), and bogus deals and offers ( 43%).

As for victims’ response to threats, 67% said they had become more vigilant while 32% said they felt anxious about recovering lost money. Some 36% said they still believed banks and mobile wallet providers could solve the problem, while 18% did not.

In March, the Department of Information, Communications and Technology (DICT) said the Philippines was still at Level 1 in terms of awareness and communication as well as cybersecurity skills and expertise, with procedures not yet sophisticated enough.

The government’s goal is to advance the Philippines to maturity level 5 or a “resilient enterprise” in terms of cybersecurity within five years, DICT Acting Secretary Emmanuel Rey R. Caintic said in an interview with Business world.

Kaspersky’s Ms Lee added: “If we are to realize the full benefits of digital payments, it is important that all stakeholders, including government, digital payment providers, users and even cybersecurity companies, work together. together to build a stable and secure environment. , and a future-proof payment ecosystem. »

The security company suggested the following steps to protect against cyber threats:

• Beware of false communications and adopt a cautious attitude when it comes to transmitting sensitive information. Do not easily share private or confidential information online, especially when it comes to requests for financial information and payment details.

• Use your own computer and internet connection when making online payments. As with how you would shop only at trusted stores when making physical purchases, translate the same caution when making online payments – you will never know if public computers have spyware logging everything you type on the keyboard, or if your public Internet connection has been intercepted.

• Do not share your passwords, PINs, or one-time passwords (OTPs) with family or friends. Although it may seem convenient or a good idea, these provide a doorway for cyber criminals to trick users into revealing personal information in order to collect banking credentials.

• Embrace a holistic solution of security products and practical steps. These can minimize the risk of falling victim to threats and protect your financial information. Use reliable security solutions for comprehensive protection against a wide range of threats to establish a secure connection and verify the authenticity of the websites of banks, payment systems and online stores you visit.

The Kaspersky study also shared the top actions of respondents in Southeast Asia after encountering threats:

• 64% changed passwords and other security settings on their banking and mobile wallet apps;

• 50% called the associated bank or mobile wallet company;

• 45% informed family members and friends of the incident;

• 26% have installed security solutions on infected devices;

• 26% installed security solutions on infected and non-infected devices; and

• 15% downloaded a new mobile wallet and created a new account.

Comments are closed.